BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraq's national security adviser on Sunday said that Iraq needs more "strategic patience" from Washington to defeat terrorist violence that threatens to swarm the region if the U.S. pulls out too soon.
Mouwaffaq al-Rubaie also asked Washington and regional leaders to back his plans to give general amnesty to insurgents and militias, but warned of more violence if Al Qaeda is able to gain more power in Iraq.
"If we don't act to contain Al Qaeda, the violence will spread like hell, not only to Saudi Arabia and the GCC (Gulf Arab) countries but to Syria, Iran and beyond," al-Rubaie told the International Institute of Strategic Studies conference in the Bahraini capital.
Sunni-Shiite sectarian killings could spread to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Pakistan and India, al-Rubaie warned, naming countries with large Shiite Muslim populations.
The Iraqi national security adviser also asked the United States be patient as Iraq tries to cope with undergoing a "paradigm shift of 1,000 years to a new order."
"We in Iraq would like you to exercise some strategic patience for this paradigm shift," al-Rubaie said. "We need some time to retreat to our own quarters and develop a new identity."
He said the blame the report by the Iraq Study Group levels at Iraq for the country's insecurity is misplaced, because U.S. forces command of Iraqi troops. Al-Rubaie also asked the U.S. leadership to speed up training of Iraqi forces and quickly allow them to seize a command role.
"This is the only way to speed departure of coalition forces," he said.
He said America would appear humiliated before the Muslim world if it followed the report's conclusions and pulled out of all U.S. combat brigades by early 2008, as the report suggests.
"I would like to ask the American people, what would the perception of the world's only hyperpower be if it pulls out? What kind of psychological and moral boost would this give to Al Qaeda and the like?" he asked.
The security adviser also lashed out at Syria, accusing it of allowing foreign insurgents to cross its border into Iraq, and Iran for allegedly backing Shiite militias. He also accused private citizens in Iraq's Gulf neighbors of funding the insurgency.
Tehran and Damascus have denied these allegations, and Gulf governments say they have stamped out any attempts by private citizens to send money to terror groups and militants in Iraq.